Cat Coulson

Artwork & Inspirations.

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Wildlife in the walls

I have been creating a small flower bed next to the bothy the last couple of weeks, taking advantage of the warm weather. It has been dug out between a set of low terraced platforms, raised by dry sone walls near to where the water wheel was situated.  I thought it would be nice to introduce a few small plants into the cracks and holes between the boulders of the stone wall, and as i went to plant one, came upon two small lizards sunbathing in the gap.

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Heirloom Daffodils

Over the last few weeks the garden has begun to change; as temperatures have risen, the snowdrops have finished, and the daffodils are making their display. There are a few different types around the garden that I was told were old varieties, so i did some research to see what i could discover. They certainly have a lot more leaf and fewer flowers than the swathes of yellow seen in modern plantings, and open in stages rather than all at once which seems more natural in a woodland setting. The daffodils in the orchard are well established, i think they may be Narcissus incomparabilis – the single form of an old variety pre 1600 known as ‘butter and eggs’. They are very attractive and delicate despite their full size, with smaller cups rather than long trumpets. They have perfectly formed pale primrose-yellow petals and the cups differ in colour, some all yellow, and the majority becoming orange towards the tips in varying degrees. Continue reading

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Signs of Spring

The larches are in flower, something i have never seen before; bright pink cones emerging upright from soft green pine needle tufts. These are the female flowers, sometimes known as larch-roses and they will develop into pine cones. The male flowers carrying the pollen are found on the same branch. The fresh new growth looks lovely after the winter; european larch (larix decidua) turns gold-amber in the autumn before loosing its needles. Its light shade provides habitat for red squirrels and birds such as sparrowhawks and goshawks; crossbills, siskins and tree creepers; as well as many moth species. Continue reading

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Gull Loch & Sea Views

The word ‘strand’ means small stream, in the Dictionary of the Scots Language I like the description ‘A strand is a wee burn, or a streimlet fra rain’ (1838 A. Crawfurd).

Strandside sits next to a stream that runs through the garden, travelling downhill in a series of small waterfalls and sinks, and issuing back above ground further downstream. Apparently there used to be a water wheel next to the bothy where it runs fastest and on some of the old maps there looks to be a channel linking it to the well. The strand is fed from a loch which sits at the top of the hill in the forest behind the house. Continue reading

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Wildlife at the Window

I’ve begun to get a few shots of the resident wildlife (albeit marred by window reflections) to share. I can’t believe how confident these creatures are, they don’t seem to mind seeing or hearing me through the window. There are usually robins around, on the wall or hedge, and one in particular that stands in the porch by the front door and calls until i put food out for it. Wrens and dunnocks spend their time in the tangled clematis which drapes over the porch and great tits are regular visitors, very smart with perfect plumage. Tiny blue tits and exquisite coal tits are constantly flitting to the feeder and chaffinches briefly fly out of the hedges to pick food from the wall. Continue reading

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Notes from Strandside

To all my friends in Lincolnshire, i want you to know that you have meant a lot to me. In many ways, a great deal. Thank you…

My search for a home has taken me through various parts of the UK, some with beautiful countryside, others wild and remote. I have been looking to move to a place that can connect me to the land, that has echoes of a more simple, unmodernised world and still remembers the history that created it. I want to experience living in an area where nature is still more prevalent than people, to be absorbed by and dwell on (and in) an environment that has a balance that inspires artistic expression. Here, by the south-west coast of Scotland, i believe i have found such a place, a house surrounded by a unique ecosystem, within land that is managed to promote wildlife. It sits within an area of scenic beauty, the coastal village is managed by the National Trust, and the RSPB have a number of reserves along the shore and islands nearby. Continue reading